LeEco is one of the newest Chinese entrants to the Indian smartphone market and has done quite well when it comes to taking on competitors from its home turf on a foreign land. The Le 1s had some good success given the fact that it quickly went on open sale in providing a good option in the mid-range phones offered at a very lucrative budget. As the company enters the next wave of competition adorning a new brand image and approach, LeEco has launched the successor to the Le 1s in the form of Le 2 that goes on sale in India from June 28th. We are in the process of doing a thorough review and in the meanwhile here are our first impressions of the phone that will take on one of the strong leaders in the segment – Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and others like Zuk Z1, Meizu M3 Note, Moto G4, Honor 5C and more.
Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken is what LeEco is following when it comes to the overall design tone. The LeEco Le 2 resembles its predecessor especially when it comes to the looks from the front. Deceptive to make you feel it’s free of bezels only to reveal it’s otherwise when the display switches on. The phone feels lighter in the hands and why not, it weighs almost 20 gms lesser than its predecessor at 153 gms and comes in with a thickness of 7.7mm. It’s a unibody metal structure with chamfered edges that allow for a good grip while the back is matte finished and slightly slippery which is why LeEco has thrown in a transperant silicon case for free! Good stuff!
Going around the device, onto the right is a pair of power button and volume rockers, fitted firmly and provide very good tactile feedback. The positioning too is perfect especially if you were to go for the one handed usage. On the top is an IR Blaster while the left side houses a dual nano sim tray, and yes, it’s for the sim cards only (no hybrid slot). On the bottom is the speaker grille and the microphone, with the illusion of a stereo speaker set. Between them sits the USB Type C port which is also the input for the CDLA driven audio plug as well (More on this later.) On the back is the 16MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and a dual LED flash and beneath that sits a highly reflective fingerprint scanner that is scratch resistant. Also accompanying these is the branding (which is still LeTV for some reason) and the info on the certifications.
Along with an 8MP camera on the front, LeEco Le 2 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display packing as much as 403 pixels per inch and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. With very good viewing angles and good color reproduction, we are delighted by what we see here. There is one minor gripe though – bring the phone under sunlight and the readability goes for a toss, even when we bump the brightness to its maximum levels. This is where we appreciate the sun-light display of the Redmi Note 3 very much. Barring this, it’s a very good display that pops all the colors well. Speaking of colors, the phone runs on EUI 5.6 that is built off Android Marshmallow and is highly customized. With home grown apps like LeVidi, LeView and others, it’s more of the media content exposure that LeEco is shooting for rather than load a ton of apps that hold very less meaning to the users. While we reserve the details of these for the detailed review, this is where LeEco would make a difference when compared to its competition.
The overall performance in our limited usage so far has mostly been snappy. And why not, the LeEco Le 2 runs on the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 processor, an upgrade from the 650 which runs the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, and very good at that. With 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory of which around 25GB is available to the user, day-to-day usage should be a breeze and we expect the same to be seen when the phone is put through some intensive tasks as well coming from the experience we’ve had with the Snapdragon 650, more on this in our detailed review. A 3000 mAh battery will provide juice to the phone and the performance so far has been decent also. We are getting a day’s worth of battery life with medium intensity usage patterns.
With the USB Type-C, apart from charging the phone, it is also used for audio transmission using the CDLA (Continual Digital Lossless Audio) technology that makes way for higher bitrates and dampening noises. This could be a double edged sword as using the same port for two things would mean one cannot charge the phone while listening to the audio and could be a deal breaker for some, especially with the Le 2 not housing a monstrous 4100 mah battery we see on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
With a very well working, snappy fingerprint scanner and decent camera module, and free access to its rich media ecosystem for a year, the LeEco Le 2 aims to differentiate itself from the rest of the crowd by not just packing good hardware but with meaningful software that will use the internet for good. Coming at Rs 11,999, our initial thoughts are definitely positive and this phone will nudge the Redmi Note 3 real hard. We will be back with our detailed review that would also cover appropriate comparisons with the competition, in an aim to help you decide pick up a mid-range phone that is “right for you”.